Imagine being left in the blocks at the start of a hundred-metre dash and looking up to see Usain Bolt already halfway down the track.
That is precisely how I felt when this hectic and, if you allow your mind to wander for a mere few seconds, all but incomprehensible movie began.
Fearing perhaps that any extended period of less that total concentration might result in its target audience of young kids driving their parents nuts with bored wriggling, the makers have opted for warp speed to keep the little heathens’ minds focused.
The intro, a blur of information that I didn’t take in on account of the chocolate from my ice-cream that had bombed my white shirt, quickly jumps to a period eight years later – and the fantastical city made of Lego pieces where we meet Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt).
The cleverness is impressive, but the script is a dud.
It boils down to a Big Brother scenario in which a cad – let’s refer to him as being an overbearing bully, like the Dirty Digger – controls society not by keeping it under the jackboot, but by convincing people that their place in the status quo is unalterable.
The message that Emmet will carry is that ‘you are all special’ (yawn). Having read the premise and noted that the film had been well received, I hoped for something that might get somewhere near to the beautiful and moving Toy Story 3 – even Mr Peabody would have sufficed.
But, burdened by a heavy boredom factor, it is not in the same street. Will Arnett does a terrific impersonation of Christian Bale’s Batman, Morgan Freeman has no trouble with Vitruvius, a bearded ancient sage (what would you expect?), while Will Ferrell doubles as the villain Lord Business and the real life Dad.
The magic that allows us to believe in and love an animated character – like we did unreservedly with Shrek, Woody and Rango – is unable to be conjured up by po-faced Emmet – he just can’t cut it.
~ John Campbell